Visayan island
  • Location: Panay Island (Visayas)

"Aklanon" is a Spanish word for the people of what is now Aklan province in Panay; the people had thought the Spaniards were asking the name of the local river, which was actually "Akean." The entire island was supposedly purchased from the local Aetas (the Ati group still live there) by 10 datus from Borneo who brought with them a syllabic script. Each local datu called his subjects sinakpan, and redistributed their property when they died. The 5 class feudal order (datu, timawa or noble, oripun or commoner, Negrito, and outsider) was maintained by the warrior class called timawa, who owed their loyalty to the datu.

Kinship is traced bilaterally, marriage is by arrangement in a costly ceremony called pamaeaye, which resembles the general Philippine pattern. Although largely Christianized, some of the traditional religion remains; the chief deity, Bululakaw, lives in the sacred mountain Madya-as, whereas the goddes Laon lived on Negros. Manunubon is the sea spirt. The baybaylan are a priestly class who organize the worship of animistic spirits called engkanto.

The Aklanon area exports copra, pineapple, melon, and banana. Slippers, mats, and bags are made from the local abaca; rattan furniture is also manufactured here. Fine pina fabric is also an important export.